Kenneth T. Jackson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kenneth T. Jackson
AwardsBancroft Prize (1986), Great Teacher Award (1999)[1]
Academic background
Academic work
DisciplineUrban history
Notable studentsJanice Min
Rohit Aggarwala
Jonathan Lemire
Suzy Shuster
Notable worksCrabgrass Frontier
The Encyclopedia of New York City

Kenneth Terry Jackson (born 1939) is a professor emeritus of history and social sciences at Columbia University. A frequent television guest, he is best known as an urban historian and a preeminent authority on the history of New York City, where he lives on the Upper West Side.


Jackson was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1939. He earned his B.A. in 1961 from Memphis State University, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and his Ph.D. in 1966 at the University of Chicago. He served as an assistant professor for the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from 1965 to 1968 and then joined the Columbia faculty as an assistant professor in 1968, earning his tenure by 1970.

Jackson's achievements as an author include The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915–1930 (1967), Cities in American History (1972), Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985), and The Encyclopedia of New York City (1995), for which he served as the primary editor. Crabgrass Frontier, a comprehensive study of the factors influencing suburban growth in the United States is the preeminent source on the history of American suburbanization.[2] The Encyclopedia of New York City is a massive collection of entries and articles that encompass much of modern-day New York and the city's history. He earned a Bancroft Prize in 1986 for Crabgrass Frontier.[3]

Jackson has earned numerous distinctions as a professor at Columbia University, where he was the director of the Herbert H. Lehman Center for American History and the Jacques Barzun Professor of History and Social Sciences. Jackson formerly taught a lecture class at the university on "The History of the City of New York." The course included numerous field trips, including walking tours, bus trips and an annual all-night bike ride led by Jackson from Morningside Heights in Manhattan to the Promenade in Brooklyn. The all-night biking trip occurred most years from 1974 to 2014,[4] and received coverage from media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal.[5]

Jackson also served as president of the Urban History Association, the Society of American Historians, the Organization of American Historians, and the New-York Historical Society.

In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate from Wagner College in Staten Island.[6]

Jackson was a prominent on camera presence in the 1999 film, New York: A Documentary Film, directed by Ric Burns for PBS. Among his notable students are Janice Min, Rohit Aggarwala, Jonathan Lemire, and Suzy Shuster.[7][8][9][10]

Selected works[edit]

  • The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915–1930. The Urban Life in America Series. Oxford University Press. 1967. Retrieved May 10, 2021 – via Internet Archive. LCCN 67-28129, OCLC 164461230 (all editions)
  • Cities in American History (1972)
  • Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985)
  • Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery (1990), with Camilo Vergara
  • The Encyclopedia of New York City (1995), (ed.)
  • Empire City (2002), (ed.), with David Dunbar (ed.)
  • Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York (2007), (ed.), with Hilary Ballon (ed.)


  1. ^ "Master Recipient List".
  2. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (1986-04-17). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  3. ^ "Bancroft Prizes Given For 2 Books on History". The New York Times. 1986-04-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-06-21.
  4. ^ "An All-Night Bike Ride Through New York City's History". Columbia News. 2024-01-09. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  5. ^ Hollander, Sophia (2011-09-26). "'I Knew I Take This Class'". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  6. ^ "Lessons in Leadership". Wagner Magazine. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  7. ^ "Rohit Aggarwala '93 Works To Implement PlaNYC". Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  8. ^ "Columbia College Today". Retrieved 2022-06-21.
  9. ^ "A New York State of Mind". Core to Commencement. 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  10. ^ "Columbia College Today". Retrieved 2022-06-28.

External links[edit]